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Encyclopedia > Annihilate

Annihilation occurs when a particle collides with an antiparticle. It transforms mass into energy of some form. The energy is carried by force carriers, particles that can decay into other particles. It means that, contrary to a popular belief, the annihilation produces more than just photons. What is produced depends on the particles and antiparticles involved.

When an electron annihilates a positron (anti_electron) the process yields pure energy in a form of gamma rays, see Electron_positron annihilation. When a proton annihilates an antiproton they produce gamma rays and a swarm of secondary particles, like pairs of top-anti-top quarks. The secondary particles will eventually decay into neutrinos and low-energy gamma rays. Knowing that neutrinos could hold some mass, it could mean that the annihilation doesn't transform all the mass into energy.

For other meanings see: laws of logic, annihilation operator.

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Annihilation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (464 words)
However, high-energy particle colliders produce annihilations where a wide variety of exotic heavy particles are created.
This is an example of renormalization in quantum field theory— the field theory being necessary because the number of particles changes from one to two and back again.
When a low-energy electron annihilates a low-energy positron (anti-electron), they can only produce two gamma ray photons, since the electron and positron do not carry enough mass-energy to produce heavier particles.
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